Return to Transcripts main page


Employees Protest Wayfair's Furniture Sales For Migrant Camps; Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) Discusses Wayfair Employee Protests, Immigration, Legislation; Dramatic Video Shows Moment Police Found Baby In Bag In Woods; Trump Speaks To And Answers Reporters' Questions. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired June 26, 2019 - 13:30   ET


[13:30:00] BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: Breaking news. You are looking at live pictures of hundreds of Wayfair employees walking off the job at company headquarters up in Boston, protesting the companies' sale of furniture to migrant detention facilities.

More than 500 employees signed onto a letter to Wayfair's senior management. And they said this, quote, "The United States government and its contractors are responsible for the detention and mistreatment of hundreds of thousands of migrants seeking asylum in our country. We want that to end. We also want to be sure that Wayfair has no part in enabling, supporting or profiting from this practice."

CNN's Politics And Business Correspondent, Cristina Alesci, is following the story for us.

Tell us how Wayfair's management has responded here, Cristina.

CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN POLITICS & BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: It's walking a very difficult line. I've seen this time after time with companies during this administration's controversial policies.

Here is what happened. Wayfair essentially said yesterday that it was going to go through with the sale. Obviously, the sale of these beds to the migrant facilities had happened. There was no way to negate it.

The company was very clear yesterday. It basically said that it won't determine whether or not to make a sale based on beliefs of certain employees, that it does not indicate support for the opinions or actions of groups or individuals who purchase from the company.

But at the same time today, I broke the news that the company is donating $100,000 to the American Red Cross in an effort to alleviate the crisis at the border.

This goes to show you that the company has to walk this line and say we're not taking a position. But at the same time, it is reacting to these employees and the outcry that came from lawmakers, including Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who called out Wayfair for this precise reason.

So, it's a tricky way. It's a tricky situation for any company. But this is not the first time that companies have been in the middle of the immigration controversy with regards to this administration.

KEILAR: They're not taking a position, but they are foregoing profits.

Cristina Alesci, thank you for that report.

Let's bring in Democratic Congressman Gregory Meeks, of New York. He is a senior member of the Foreign Affairs Committee and also the Financial Services Committee.

Congressman, we're watching these live pictures from Boston where you have Wayfair employees protesting. And now the company is giving money to the Red Cross, which really was one of the suggestions of the protesters, that they don't make profit off of this business deal. What do you think about this?

REP. GREGORY MEEKS (D-NY): I think what you're seeing all across America, Americans are better than what this administration has been.

This administration has caused the problem that we have at the border because you're not talking about people trying to enter the country illegally. You're talking about individuals that are coming, presenting themselves at the border, in a legal way, and then this administration treats them in an inhumane way.

Americans, as they see and witness this, they decide, they're talking up, speaking up. They don't want us in the United States to be in a situation where we're treating individuals who are seeking safe haven, to be treated in an inhumane manner, young people taken away from their parents.

We've got to do better than that. We are better than that.

KEILAR: Democratic presidential candidate, Beto O'Rourke, is blaming President Trump for the deaths of migrants. Do you blame the president for the deaths?

MEEKS: What I say is that there's no question that this administration is implicit with the lack of treatment, the lack of facilities, the lack of medical assistance, the lack of the appropriate housing that has been given to these individuals who came into this country in an illegal way.

It is clear from the former U.S. attorney general that they were trying to create a condition that was inhumane, thinking that that would prevent individuals from seeking refuge here.

There's no question that, as a result of that and that kind of treatment, then there's an interconnection between this president and whatever takes place to those who want to enter this country illegally in crossing the border.

KEILAR: President Trump, as you have heard, has repeatedly blamed President Obama for this problem. Do you wish to see President Obama speak up? MEEKS: President Trump -- not by my words, he is a conman. Ask Marco

Rubio. Go back to Mitt Romney, go back to George W. Bush, before the Republican primary. That's who they all said he was, and who he is.

So, he will do anything and say anything. I don't go by words of a conman because what they try to do is divert you. They talk and say anything. He's just trying to cater to a small base of individuals.

[13:35:12] Clearly, I would go in the humane treatment that was provided by President Obama, someone that did not tell, as the "Washington Post" has said, over 10,000 lies already, has not had individuals who are incarcerated and has not treated individuals in this inhumane way. I'll stand with Barack Obama anytime.

I think that's why our allies, as well as Americans, now very concerned about what's going on at the border, because of the treatment and the policies of President Trump.

KEILAR: The House has passed this deal, which deals with the humanitarian element. You have a Republican Senate, a Republican president. They want more on border security.

When you have this choice, children, migrants, their treatment, adding border security, maybe something you don't want as a Democrat, what's the answer? What do you choose?

MEEKS: You have to make sure that we do what you need to so that those who are trying to enter our borders are treated in a fair way.

I would say to the Senate, my Republican colleagues and the president himself, we can't be hypocritical.

Look, we praise, for example, Colombia, for taking in all those individuals who are refugees from Venezuela. They keep their borders open. They try to have -- they bring individuals in. You can look at all the refugees taken in, in countries like Jordan and Germany and our European all allies, hundreds of thousands.

Yet, you have individuals trying to seek the same kind of asylum in the United States, the richest country in the world, we are treating them as if they are inhuman. There's something morally wrong with that.

And I think that Americans are starting to open up their eyes to that. We will stand up to this administration. And those of us in Congress, we better make sure -- that's what I think that the compromise is. Yes, there are some things that I do not trust this president. Let me be clear about that. But I don't want anyone to say.

I know we've got to make sure that we give the money that's necessary to the refugee agency because they run out of funding very shortly. We want to make sure that they're funded. And we don't want any of our humanitarian organizations to go unfunded so they can't do the jobs and the work that's necessary for them to do.

KEILAR: Congressman Gregory Meeks, thank you so much. MEEKS: Thank you. Good to be with you.

KEILAR: We are getting word that President Trump is speaking before his G-20 trip. We'll bring you that tape soon from his departure.

Also, police respond to a heartbreaking scene in the woods of Georgia.


TERRY ROPER, DEPUTY SHERIFF, FORSYTH COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT: Oh, it's OK, Sweetheart. Oh, I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry.


KEILAR: A newborn infant abandoned and tied inside of a plastic bag. I'll speak to the deputy who saved her life.


[13:42:37] KEILAR: Police in Georgia have released shocking new bodycam footage that shows the moment police officers found a crying newborn discarded, wrapped in plastic and abandoned in the woods.


ROPER: It's all right. Oh, it's OK, Sweetheart. Oh, I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry. Yes, look at you. Yes.

Oh, look how precious you are. Yes. Look who's here.


KEILAR: So police say they got this call after a family reported hearing the cries. They heard it from their home and they thought maybe this was an animal. That's when officers made this discovery, that it was a baby girl, not even a full day old yet, maybe just an hour or so old. Umbilical cord still attached.

I want to bring in Deputy Sheriff Terry Roper.

That was you we are hearing on this bodycam footage, sir. I want you to walk us through what happened.

But first, you know, one of the things I noticed was hearing what you said to her. Tell us what was going through your mind as you were saying all these comforting things.

ROPER: Well, I've always enjoyed children. I've had a lot of experience with babies. My number-one priority at the time was just to comfort her. She had been abandoned on the side of the road and hadn't felt any love or compassion yet. And my priority was just to pick her up and comfort her.

After making sure that she was not in immediate danger health-wise, I just wanted to give her love, the love that she had never been shown in her whole life up until that point. KEILAR: Yes.

ROPER: The love that she deserved.

KEILAR: And tell her how precious she was. I appreciated hearing you say that to her.

Take us through this. You are what? You're out on patrol and you get a call. What happens?

ROPER: I was actually about a mile away from the incident, got the call first that there was something making noise through the woods. They couldn't tell if it was a child or animal at the time.

[13:45:09] As I got closer to the scene, the Good-Samaritan family that found the baby was able to confirm that it was, indeed, a baby and a baby girl. Once they said it was a girl, I knew they were close enough to tell that it was actually a child in a bag instead of some animal making noises. That's when I knew this was the real thing.

Luckily, I stopped and got some gloves before I walked up to her and I was able to open the bag up and render aid to her.

KEILAR: So how far away from this house is she? Like how far away had she been left from people?

ROPER: I would estimate, through the woods, about 100 yards. You can't see the house from the place where the baby was left.

So the Good-Samaritan family had just got back home from vacation. It was just an act of God that they came back from vacation when they did. Had they been a day later, a few hours later, this would have been a different story all together.

But when she -- when the family got there, they were unloading the car. At first, they decided they were going to stop unloading for the night. But there was rain moving in and they decided to unload the rest of the car because it would be raining the next day. That's when the teenage girls heard something through the woods.

And they kept telling their dad that it was a baby, not an animal. Of course, there's all kinds of noises in this area. This is a rural area. It's populated with people but there are a lot of woods. There's a lot of animal sounds all throughout the night. So he thought it was just an animal.

The kids went to investigate further, and the closer they got to the bag, the more they could tell it was actually a baby crying. They were able to go back and talk their dad into coming and investigating further.

KEILAR: So there's an investigation. Where does it stand?

ROPER: Well, I'm not privy to the investigation part. That's handled by our investigations department. But they're following as many leads as they can. Hopefully, the press coverage that this is getting is going to help us

get in touch with the mother. We would like to know what condition the mother is in, what set of circumstances led her to do this.

She may or may not have criminal charges due to whatever her circumstances are. She may not have a choice to have done this. We would really like to know that.

KEILAR: Deputy Terry Roper, thank you. And thank you for warming our hearts with your reaction to her. We appreciate it.

ROPER: Not a problem. I was just doing what anybody would have done.

KEILAR: I sure hope so, sir.

Thank you.

Let's listen now to President Trump. He has just departed the White House and we just turned around this tape.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I just spoke with Nancy Pelosi and we had a good conversation, having to do with the bill, humanitarian aid at the border for the children mostly.

And we are moving along very well with a bipartisan bill in the Senate. Spoke with Mitch. Spoke to a lot of people. We're doing very well. It's very far along.

I believe the House will be getting together with the Senate. Hopefully, they can get something done. It's humanitarian aid. It's very important.

And I think that a lot of people are starting to realize that I was right when I said we have a crisis at the border. Everyone is saying now we have a crisis at the border. It wasn't a manufactured crisis, which is what they were saying. It wasn't manufactured at all. We have a crisis at the border.

We can solve the problem if they would change some of the rules and regulations, change asylum, change so many different things. The loopholes, in particular, could be done very quickly and you wouldn't have this problem.

I've been saying it a year and a half. I've been saying you have to change the loopholes. You have to change asylum. You wouldn't have this problem.

They're not working on that, unfortunately, today. What they're working on is aid, it's humanitarian aid for the children.

It seems that the Senate is very close. I think that Nancy wants to get something done. And the Senate and the House will get together. I think they'll be able to do something very good. I'm heading, as you know -- and some of you are coming with me. I'm

heading to Japan, Osaka. We'll be meeting with a lot of different countries, many of whom have been taking advantage of the United States, but not so much anymore and soon not at all anymore.

So, we appreciate it.

Any question?


TRUMP: The Mueller thing never stops. There was no collusion. There was no obstruction. There was no nothing. How many times do we have to hear it? It never ends. It just keeps going on and on. I've been going through this for two years, two and a half years.

And the criminal activity was on the other side, with the fake dossier, the phony, fraudulent dossier, and all the other things they've done, FISA courts, all of that, with the insurance policy by Strzok and his lover, Page.

[13:50:14] This is a disgraceful thing and we keep -- I heard about it last night and said does it ever end? At what point does it end? It's a disgrace.

No obstruction. No collusion. Now the Democrats want a do-over. They had a do-over in the House. That's didn't work. They had a do- over in the Senate. That didn't work. There are no do-overs.

We spent a long time working with Mueller. I gave him all the witnesses he wanted. I gave him lawyers. I gave him people. I guess he interviewed 500 people. And 2,500 subpoenas. They had everything they could possibly have. Nobody's ever had more. Nobody's ever been more transparent. And now it continues further?

This is just a hoax. I call it the witch hunt, but it's really a hoax. It's the greatest hoax ever in the history of our country. And it's the worst political scandal on the other side.

So we'll see. A lot of things right now are coming out that are very, very bad what they did. But this just continues on, two and a half years it continues.



TRUMP: I cannot - you guys -




TRUMP: That's like I've been saying. If they fixed the laws, you wouldn't have that. People are coming up, running through the Rio Grande. It can be a rough river of sorts. I mean, there are times when going across the Rio Grande is very, very dangerous, depending on the time of year and the conditions and the rapidity of the water.

And we know that. We have many, many guards there. People go through the guards.

If we had the right laws, that the Democrats are not letting us have, those people wouldn't be coming up, they wouldn't be trying.

We're building the wall. It's under construction. A lot of it is under construction. We'll have over 400 miles next year by the end of the year.

But it's very important. They can change it very easily, so people don't come up, and people won't get killed. Women are being raped on the journey up. You have these caravans. Women are being raped.

And one of the terrible things, children are being brought into slavedom, if you look at what's happening. The cartels and coyotes are getting rich, because the Democrats refuse to change the loopholes. They refuse to change the asylum.

In one hour, we could have it done. They want to have open borders. And open borders mean crime, and open borders mean people drowning in the rivers. And it's a very dangerous thing.


TRUMP: I hate it. And it could stop immediately if the Democrats change the laws. They have to change the laws. And then that father, who was probably a wonderful guy, with his daughter, things like that wouldn't happen. That journey across that river, that journey across that river is a dangerous journey. That's a very, very dangerous journey.

And we don't think -- and by the way, just so you understand, many other things happen. Look, you've seen it, women being raped --


TRUMP: Women being raped in numbers that nobody believes in the caravans coming up.

Now, I want to thank Mexico. They put 6,000 people at the border.


TRUMP: The asylum policy of the Democrats is responsible.


TRUMP: Because they will not -- they will not change the asylum policy. But now, for the first time, they're starting to talk about it.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Will you try to block Robert Mueller's testimony?

TRUMP: I don't know anything about it. I just heard.

And my only response to Mueller is, does it ever stop? After all these years and times and people, does it ever stop?

The Democrats use it to try and divert from what they have. Because what they have done, if you look, you see, and it's just my opinion, tremendous criminal activity on their side. And they know it. And this is a diversion.

But I ask you this, does it ever stop? OK.


TRUMP: I'll have a very good conversation with him. What I say to him is none of your business.

Go ahead.


TRUMP: There's a possibility. I'm meeting with Russia. I'm meeting with China. I'm meeting with many countries. We're meeting with many countries. We have many things. We've been ripped off by everybody over the years. They're not ripping us off anymore. A big difference right now.

[13:55:03] We're meeting with China. Just so you know, China has been paying us billions and billions of dollars. Until I got here, they never paid this country 10 cents. We'll see what happens with China, with Russia, with Japan, with many countries.


TRUMP: Say it.


TRUMP: The polls are no good. You know what, Iran can do whatever they want. It's just fine. I have plenty of time. But they have a country that's in economic distress. It's an economic disaster right now. They can solve it quickly or in 10 years from now. Whatever they want is fine with me. Whatever they want. I have all the time in the world. I'm sitting here, I have all the time in the world.

In the meantime, they have very strong sanctions. They have to live with those sanctions. But Iran should do the right thing for their people.

The problem is I don't believe their leader. -- I'm not sure that their leaders care for their people. If they do, they'll make a deal. If they don't, they're just thinking about themselves. And they're selfish and they're stupid if that's what they're doing.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE QUESTION) TRUMP: I'll be meeting with a lot of other people. Not by him. I may be speaking to him in a different forum.

I'll be going to South Korea, as you know, after the G-20. We'll be there for about a day. We have a lot of meetings planned with a lot of countries.

We're a country that's respected again. Not like the old days. We're respected again. These countries respect us. They didn't respect us three, four, five years ago. They respect us again.

Thank you very much.


KEILAR: I want to bring in Dana Bash to discuss this.

He had a conversation with Speaker Pelosi when it comes to -- we hope they're trying to reach an agreement. I don't know that they are trying to reach agreement when it comes to trying to solve the issue on the border. But the House passed a bill to deal with the humanitarian part of this. Tell us about the call and what we learned?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: What's so fascinating is that either the president isn't in touch with his fellow Republicans and the Senate, or either he's out of the loop with what they're trying to do as they speak, or he was persuaded by Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic House speaker, that they're wrong.

What I mean by that is that, in the last hour, Senate Republican leaders have said basically that they're going to try to jam the House. There are two different bills on this critically important funding bill to try to deal with the crisis at the border.

The Senate is saying -- Senate Republicans, who run the Senate, they're saying that they want to just take their bill, get the House to pass it, send it to the president's desk, and that's it.

House Democrats, who change their bill in a lot of ways to try to placate progressives, who wanted to have more clarity and more screws on the administration, are saying, no, we're not going to do that. We're going to do it the way it's supposed to be done, which is the House passes the bill, the Senate passes the bill, and then we reconcile it, and move on. So they're trying to jam the House.

What was fascinating to me, the president came out and said he had this great conversation with the House speaker about negotiations. Usually, this is a lot of getting in the weeds. Because this is something that is so urgent, so dire, and they're racing against time because Congress wants to get out of town for the July 4th recess, the president just left for Japan, that's why this is so important.

KEILAR: He was telling -- he dodged the question on the picture of those two dead migrants. He doesn't want to talk about this, this is a bad image for him to deal with. So it's pressing as well. Dana Bash, thank you so much.

BASH: Thanks, Brianna.

KEILAR: Prosecutors in Paris are finally revealing what may have caused the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral. We're back in two minutes.